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“I love LSFY because it makes this big campus feel so much smaller. It helped me navigate my first year by allowing me to find out what interests and values are most important to me, and ultimately helped me decide what major I want to pursue!”
Reece Bishop, Human Biology Major, Psychology Minor, LSFY Class Assistant, Class of 2020

The Life Sciences First Year (LSFY) program at NC State University was developed with the goal of helping students find the right fit in a degree program at NC State. Designed for students who enter NC State with an interest in any aspect of the life sciences, the LSFY curriculum allows students to begin laying the foundation for further studies in any of the life science degree programs at NC State.  At the same time, the advising program and specially designed courses encourage and provide the means for students to explore their academic interests to settle on the academic home that is best for them, while understanding what they need to do to achieve their professional goals.  After learning more about degree requirements and exploring their own interests and aptitudes (both in and out of class), all LSFY students apply at the end of their first year to transfer into a degree program through an internal process. This may be a confirmation of the students’ original intended major or the student may have decided to pursue another track. Either is great and the LSFY team will help with the decision and transition.

Mission statement

LSFY strives to support and challenge students in finding their “fit” with choosing major, transitioning to college, and developing skills to allow for success within their chosen discipline.  We value active engagement within our communities and foster students’ growth towards reaching their academic and personal goals.

FAQs about the LSFY Program

Who is a part of the LSFY Program?

The LSFY program includes all incoming first-year students who express interest in earning a degree in one of the following majors:  Biochemistry (BS), Biological Sciences (both BS and BA degrees), Genetics (BS), Microbiology (BS), Nutrition Science (BS), Plant Biology (BS), or Zoology (BS).  There is no need to fill out a special application for the program. When a student is accepted to NC State with the intention of majoring in any of the above degrees, the student will automatically be placed in the LSFY program. The LSFY team will start communicating with students in May (after acceptance into NC State).

Early college students who apply as first-year students will also be included in our program.

Is there a Life Science major or can I indicate a specific major?

Life sciences students start as “intended majors” in one of the majors indicated above and will begin their college career in the LSFY program, not in a specific major. LSFY students are expected to move into a specific major by the end of their first year, after having the opportunity to fully explore the options available at NC State and doing well in key foundational coursework.  Regardless of whether you retain your original intended major or decide to change to another life science major, you will be taking courses common to all the majors supported by the LSFY program (see below).

How does the first year curriculum work – will I be “behind” in my classes?

No.  The first year for the eight majors participating in LSFY is the same.  If students enter college with AP credit or transfer credit, an academic advisor will assist them with selecting appropriate classes based on the student’s interests. The beauty of the LSFY common core curriculum is that a student can pivot in any direction and have the pre-reqs for that major. There is much flexibility in the first year program.

What can I expect during my first year in LSFY?

Students will be encourages to explore the different life sciences supported majors to discover which major aligns best with their interests, aptitudes, and career goals. LSFY students take a common first-year curriculum, including courses in biology, mathematics, chemistry, and English that are required by all of the life sciences majors.  Students will also take LSC 101 and LSC 103, courses designed specifically for LSFY students. LSC101: Critical & Creative Thinking in the Life Sciences is taught by faculty. This course is case-study and discussion based and strengthens your understanding of the scientific method, such as elaboration of experimental design, and focuses on scientific rhetoric as well as applying intellectual standards of critical thinking and creative thinking. LSC 103: Exploring Opportunities in the Life Sciences is by by advisors and helps not only with exploring majors, but also giving you the tools needed for success during your first year at NC State, including resources on campus and technology tools to plan your course sequence.

Students will be provided several opportunities to interact with their academic advisors, faculty, and current students to help them build a strong network of support at NC State.

What makes the LSFY Program effective?

Professional advisors, who are also instructors for one of our core courses (LSC 103), care about their students, know their stuff and help you achieve success.  Dedicated faculty, who are instructors for another one of our core courses (LSC 101), will help you develop your critical thinking and communication skills, both vital for your success in life sciences.  Leadership opportunities are available after your first year as you can become a class assistant or teaching assistant for the program. We also have various community building activities throughout the year, including career panels, socials, and conversations with scientists. We offer a small college feel with all the support that entails housed within a large, resource-rich and opportunity-rich university. It is a win-win for students!